Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, December 21st, 2014

As a general rule, where do you stand on when redoubles are for rescue after an overcall, and when they simply show good hands – or something else? For instance, after an overcall, would my partner's redouble of a negative or takeout double be for rescue? Or would it show a good hand? In the latter case, is support implied or denied?

Blue for Danger, Twin Falls, Idaho

Redouble by an unpassed hand should show close to opening values, and by a passed hand show decent values. Though such doubles may not be specifically directed towards penalties, all subsequent doubles by either player would be for blood. Redoubles should only be for rescue when someone has made a penalty double, or when there has been a penalty pass of a take-out double.

I am a rubber bridge player, and like to keep it simple. In response to a one club opening bid, I say, if you have a four card major, bid it. My partner had ♠ 7-5,  K-Q-J-9,  A-10-8-5-3, ♣ 3-2 and responded one diamond. I took that as probably weak with no four-card major so bid one no-trump and we missed a playable four heart contract. Where do you stand here?

Old Fashioned, Los Angeles, Calif.

I'm with you. With a one-bid hand, go for majors not minors first. And as opener I would rebid one no-trump over one diamond, in a 4-3-3-3 shape with either major, as you did. I believe a rebid in a major suggests at least four clubs, and if balanced, the hand will deliver decent suits. Playing that way lets partner give preference freely to two clubs.

Last week in our rubber game I responded one heart to one club with: ♠ 9-2,  K-10-6-4,  A-7-2, ♣ A-J-4-2 and after my partner's limit raise to three hearts I simply bid game. We made six hearts when my partner produced a singleton diamond and 16 points, and I was told I had not done enough. Can you comment?

Weak End, Milford, Pa.

There is no guarantee of a second fit on this hand (your partner might have only four clubs, or even a 3-4-3-3 18-count). However, your controls argue that you might eke out a four club cuebid in case partner can take control. One effort is more than enough, though. Let partner take it from there.

I do not find it easy to distinguish in a competitive auction between when a cuebid asks, and when it shows. Are there some simple rules I should know?

Socrates, Wilmington, N.C.

After your side opens the bidding, most cuebids below three no-trump are looking for stoppers in the suit bid by the opponents (if you had the suit under control, you would bid no-trump yourself.) But when they have bid or shown two suits, you bid the suit you have stopped. In just the same way, when your side has bid two suits, you show not ask in a third suit; but when you have bid three suits, you ask not tell in the fourth.

My partner and I play relatively disciplined take-out doubles of preempts, but can you comment on whether it is right to double a four-level preempt with a balanced hand? Or should you be more oriented to take-out, or indeed to penalties? And what are you supposed to do with a strong balanced hand over a preempt to four of a major?

Silent Speaker, Olympia, Wash.

Sometimes you may feel too strong to pass and collect a penalty in 50s against a game your way. Since partner will tend to pull either a double of four hearts or four spades with a lot of shape it will (rarely) be right to pass and try to go plus if the alternative is less palatable. I do play a call of four no-trump over four of a minor is natural, but two-suited over a major.

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